It's all about life and death in this week's Top 10.
Another season is upon us (hopefully it’s summer this time, and not a quick leap straight into autumn), and with it has come another round of Top Ten. I find myself in an interesting place, gaming-wise, with most of my long awaited games having slowly drifted off into the background. In situations like these I often turn to the old favourites, like the Heroes of Might and Magic series, or another round of Baldur’s Gate. I didn’t have to look too far this time however, what with the recent release of The Sims 2 Pets expansion pack (that Liam brilliantly reviewed a wee while ago). Rather than go over some of the new features I thought I’d instead turn my mind back to when I first began playing The Sims, and focus on those things that really excited me about the game way back then. I finally narrowed my list down to the wackiest, coolest, most creative element about the whole game: methods of killing your Sims.
And so, I give to you, my Top Ten Sims (1 and 2) Deaths (in reverse order, saving the best for last):
10. Starvation, drowning and old age.
These three really tied for last place. While a certain degree of satisfaction can come from leading a Sim gently by the hand, through the trials and tribulations of life, only to see them depart these earthly shores amidst hula girls, it is of course, totally predictable and so not really a contender for any of the top places. Starvation’s a bit miserable really, and there are much better ways to go. You can say the same for the pull-the-stairs-off-the-pool trick, which was funny back when we were all playing The Sims 1. Next!
9. Fire – cooking.
I decided to separate the fire related deaths, as one was far better than the other. Death from being a terrible cook is amusing at first, and can be a good way for other family members to try and chat up the fireman when he comes running around, but it really does get old quick when your Doofus Sim burns the Mac and Cheese for the third time in a row. (I make them eat it burnt, by the way.)
8. Electrocution – bonus marks if caused by a dying Servo robot.
Electrocution really can be a bit of fun. The TV goes on the fritz, so you get your most mechanically-inept Sim to try and repair it. With a bit of luck they just electrocute themselves but manage to survive, and wander around the house with burnt clothes, singed hair and an alarmed look on their face. Try it again and the exercise often results in death. I recently heard about a variation on this theme where if your Servo robot is about to kick the bucket, he often runs around the house electrocuting people and generally wreaking havoc. If your Sim’s stats are low enough – you guessed it. Class.
7. Scared to death by a ghost.
I really have mixed feelings about ghosts. While the inclusion of them in the game itself is completely brilliant, there’s nothing worse than trying to put your Sim to bed for a good night’s rest, only to have them woken up every couple of hours by someone jumping out of the bedside lamp. Some Sims are desperate to see a ghost, but others can be frightened to death if they’re scared often enough (or at least are compelled to wet themselves, leaving you to clean up the mess).
6. ‘Undeath’ by Vampire.
This one takes a bit more work than previous deaths, but is rather satisfying once it’s achieved. I debated about including this in the list, seeing as you can ultimately reverse your Sim’s vampirism with a dose of tonic from the gypsy woman, but still, it is great fun living as a vampire, sleeping in a coffin all day, scaring people who try to peek inside, flying around the neighbourhood, etc. All you really have to do is become good friends with a Count or Countess, and then convince them to bite you. I sent a vampire Sim to university – he was a real hit with the ladies but died on the way back to his coffin from class – which leads to the sub classification: death by sunlight. Just like every vampire movie you’ve ever seen!
5. Death via broken elevator.
This one took me a while to discover, as I hadn’t really made use of the extra building tools that came with the Open For Business expansion pack. The advent of elevators, however, has ‘opened new doors’ in the death arena. If you’ve got no handy mechanical Sims in your house (and are too cheap to hire a repairman), a poorly repaired elevator can send your Sim plummeting to his or her death in a quick trip to the bottom floor. Just like a bad soap opera.
4. Fire – rocket.
You know those really cool outdoor rockets you can buy? Ever set one up inside? With lots of carpets surrounding it? And your Sim in the middle?
Ever heard of the expression “flash fire”?
3. Death by satellite.
Everyone loves gazing at the sky during the day, or the stars at night. You think about the universe, and the infinite, and life in general. Some people dream of the future, or think about what they’d like to do with their lives. Maxis rewards those Sims with the occasional bit of space debris falling out of the sky, flattening them like a pancake.
2. Laganaphyllis Simnovorii.
Otherwise known as a ‘Cow Plant’, the Laganaphyllis Simnovorii dangles a piece of something that looks like cake from its mouth, luring your guests into its clutches and an early death. Your Sim, meanwhile, gets to enjoy another full five days of life from the resulting elixir. You couldn’t ask for a better pet really. The Laganaphyllis Simnovorii also makes up for having to wear nothing but fig leaves once you’ve reached the top of the Natural Science career path.
I thought nothing could beat the Cow Plant, until I remembered the dread…
1. Guinea Pig Disease.
Everyone loves Guinea Pigs. I do, anyway. They’re so cute, and they make that little squeaking noise. If your Sim forgets to clean the cage though, and you get bitten, they can become inflicted with the life-threatening Guinea Pig Disease. Rest and relaxation can cure the disease – sometimes. The only sure fire solution is to buy the Guinea Pig painting and hang it on your wall.
Somehow it all makes sense.